The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, told EU ambassadors he’d seen no progress so far this week as he prepared for a critical meeting in London Thursday.
Barnier gave a downbeat assessment of the state of play at a meeting with EU envoys on Wednesday evening, according to a European official who was briefed on their discussions.
Another person familiar with the process offered a more optimistic view on Thursday suggesting there were signs of movement on fishing quotas and morale was holding up among the negotiating teams, despite the political storm unleashed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to breach some of his commitments under last year’s divorce agreement.
Barnier is due to sit down with his opposite number David Frost at 2 p.m. in London as they seek common ground on how to manage state aid rules and carve up fishing rights. Johnson has set an Oct. 15 deadline for the two sides to reach a deal that will underpin the trading relationship between Britain and the EU once the Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31.